WKAR

In Michigan
6:10 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Key Ambassador Bridge ramp could be done by spring

DETROIT –

The state of Michigan says it's received federal approval to build an elevated ramp that will take trucks directly to interstates from Detroit's Ambassador Bridge.

The job could be completed by Memorial Day. In a statement Wednesday, the Transportation Department says the property finally was signed over last month by the bridge owner.

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In Michigan
4:27 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Michigan regional jobless rates rise in December

LANSING, MI –

Michigan officials say that seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates have increased in all 17 major state labor markets.

The December figures were released Thursday. Rates rose everywhere, with the Upper Peninsula and the northeastern and northwestern Lower Peninsulas showing the highest percentage jumps from November to December.

Statewide, the unadjusted jobless rate was 9%, up from 8.4% in November. The seasonally adjusted rate has been falling for months.

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WKAR Features
1:28 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

East Lansing city council to interview city manager finalists

WKAR file photo

EAST LANSING, MI –

The finalists for East Lansing city manager met with residents at a public forum Wednesday evening.

The next step in the process is today, when the city council will conduct interviews with all five.

The council is scheduled to make a selection on Friday.

WKAR's Scott Pohl spoke with East Lansing mayor Diane Goddeeris about what she and her colleagues on the city council are looking for in the search's final days.

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In Michigan
1:05 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

MI transportation bill package introduced

LANSING, MI –

A package of bills that would increase the state's vehicle registration fees and the amount drivers pay for a gallon of gas has been rolled out at the state Capitol. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, it's designed to generate more than a billion dollars to help fix the state's crumbling bridges and roads.

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WKAR Features
7:41 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Gregorian previews MSU Symphony concert

MSU Symphony Orchestra conductor Leon Gregorian. Photo: Courtesy MSU Photo: Courtesy MSU College of Music

EAST LANSING, MI –

WKAR's Melissa Benmark speaks with conductor Leon Gregorian about the next Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra concert, which features a new Tuba Concerto by MSU professor Ron Newman.

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In Michigan
6:51 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Cyber school discussion heats up at state Capitol

LANSING, MI –

The debate over the effectiveness of cyber K-12 schools is ramping up at the state Capitol. A state House panel is considering a measure that would allow more cyber schools to operate in Michigan. Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber has more


There are currently two cyber schools authorized in Michigan. Supporters of online learning say kids and parents should be afforded more education options and opportunities in the digital age.

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In Michigan
6:49 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Tribe's board votes to move ahead with Lansing casino

LANSING, MI –

The Board of Directors for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has voted to move forward with a proposed $245 million casino in downtown Lansing.

Roger Martin, a spokesman for the tribe, said in an email that the board voted 8-2 on Tuesday night to approve an agreement with the City of Lansing.

Backers of the Kewadin Lansing Casino plan announced Monday that it could create about 1,500 permanent jobs and 700 construction jobs. Money also could be used to fund scholarships for area students.

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In Michigan
6:16 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Meadows calls for school inspection mandate

EAST LANSING, MI –

State representative Mark Meadows wants more frequent school building inspections in Michigan. The East Lansing Democrat has announced he is seeking a co-sponsor for legislation that would mandate inspections every five years.

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In Michigan
4:17 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Schuette calls for 1,000 more cops this year

LANSING, MI –

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state should use a budget windfall to hire a thousand more police officers. Statewide, violent crime has gone down in recent years, but -- as we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, Michigan still has some of the most dangerous cities in the country.

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WKAR Features
8:32 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Kids Count report: Eaton County reports huge jump in child abuse, neglect

Illustration: Courtesy of Michigan League for Human Services

Eaton County, MI – The latest report from Kids Count in Michigan shows a disturbing trend: growing numbers of children are living in poverty, and statewide the rate of child abuse and neglect rose by 34 per cent over the last 10 years.

Perhaps the most shocking statistic for mid-Michigan comes from Eaton County, where the rate of child abuse and neglect jumped more than 400 percent over the past decade.

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In Michigan
6:10 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Anti-abortion group could get Mich. license plate

LANSING, MI –

A bill that would authorize a fundraising license plate connected to an anti-abortion group is advancing in the Michigan Senate.

Legislation that would allow the license plate linked to Right to Life of Michigan was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Senate Transportation Committee.

The legislation would allow Michigan residents to buy a "Choose Life" license plate with a portion of the money going to Right to Life. The organization says the money would go to abortion prevention projects.

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In Michigan
4:45 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

State Senator proposes income tax rollback

LANSING, MI –

A new proposal at the state Capitol would reduce the state's income tax rate over the next few years. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber tells us, a Republican state lawmaker says he wants to make good on a promise made to people in Michigan.

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In Michigan
4:40 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Audit knocks state over flight school inspections

LANSING, MI –

A state audit says Michigan regulators have fallen behind in inspecting flight schools.

The state Transportation Department is supposed to inspect schools every three years, but auditors found the rule was missed at 80 percent of 63 flight schools reviewed. Inspections were more than three years late at 26 schools, and more than five years tardy at eight.

The Transportation Department generally agreed with the finding and says the Aeronautics Office will comply with state law.

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In Michigan
1:35 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

BWL to hold rate hike vote this evening

LANSING, MI –

Commissioners of Lansing's Board of Water and Light plan to vote this evening on a nine-percent rate hike for the utility's water and steam customers. Approval would mean about a $116 average monthly increase for non-residential steam heat customers. The average monthly residential water bill would rise a few dollars a month.

BWL officials say more revenue is needed to update aging water and steam infrastructure.

If approved, rate increases would take effect March first.

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In Michigan
1:04 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Report: uptick in poverty, abuse

LANSING, MI –

About one-fourth of kids in Michigan live in poverty. That's according to the Kids Count report from the Michigan League for Human Services. The report says the percent of kids living in poverty and "extreme poverty" has risen dramatically in the past decade, as has the rate of kids who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

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WKAR Features
7:41 am
Tue January 24, 2012

Lansing economic officials don't like USPS streamlining process

Photo: Mark Bashore/WKAR

Lansing, MI –

A group of area business figures and politicians is urging the United States Postal Service to rethink a plan that would end mail processing operations at Lansing's Collins Road postal facility. The group says it's perplexed by what it considers poor communication by the postal service.

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In Michigan
6:26 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Fight over MI no-fault data headed to court

LANSING, MI –

A coalition opposed to a proposed overhaul of Michigan's no-fault insurance law is headed to court. The group wants to know how much money no-fault claims cost ratepayers and the insurance industry. We have more from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.

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In Michigan
6:20 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Family: 21-year-old missing after travel to Syria

FARMINGTON HILLS, MI –

Family members say a 21-year-old man living in Michigan has been missing nearly three weeks after traveling to Syria.

Firas Nashef of Farmington Hills said Monday that his nephew Obada Mzaik boarded a flight for Damascus Jan. 3 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport but wasn't seen exiting immigration clearance in Syria.

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In Michigan
6:16 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Detroit auto show attendance increases this year

DETROIT –

Organizers of the North American International Auto Show say this year's attendance was the highest since 2005.

The annual event at Detroit's Cobo Center closed on Sunday. Organizers say attendance during the public portion of the show was 770,932. That's also up from last year, when 735,370 went to the show.

The 2013 show dates have been set. That includes media previews Jan. 14-15, industry previews Jan. 16-17, the charity preview Jan. 17 and the public show Jan. 19-27. The previews routinely draw thousands.

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In Michigan
4:16 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Lansing casino plan may hit legal snags

An artist rendering of the proposed Kewadin Lansing Casino. Illustration Courtesy of the City of Lansing.

Lansing, MI – The city of Lansing may be in for a legal fight as it plans to build a new $245 million casino.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and the Sault Ste. Marie band of Chippewa Indians are trumpeting their agreement to build a 125,000 square foot casino. But the Saginaw Chippewas challenge that claim. They say the Sault's decision to build far outside their historic tribal lands is illegal.

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In Michigan
4:12 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Women sue to stop MI ban on adoption by gay couples

HAZEL PARK, MI –

Two women are suing the state of Michigan to try to overturn a state ban on adoption by unmarried couples.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse each have adopted children on their own. But they'd like to adopt the children as a couple, which is an option only for heterosexual married couples.

The women are nurses who live together with three children in Hazel Park, a Detroit suburb.

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In Michigan
8:27 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Health advocates say state should go beyond "personal responsibility"

Lansing, MI – Some health advocates say Governor Rick Snyder was not bold enough in his State of the State speech on fighting childhood obesity. Governor Snyder mentioned a program in his speech last week that would teach parents about proper nutrition for young children to help combat childhood obesity.

Katherine Knoll with the Midwest chapter of the American Heart Association says kids need direct instruction on how to control their weight, and that should take place in school.

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Top Stories
8:22 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Lansing plans $245 million downtown casino

An artist's rendering of the proposed casino that may be built in downtown Lansing. Illustration: Courtesy of the City of Lansing

Lansing, MI – The city of Lansing is announcing plans to build a 125,000 square foot casino in its downtown entertainment district. Officials are working with a branch of the Chippewa Indian Tribe to bring the venue to Lansing.

The Kewadin Lansing Casino, as the project is currently named, would be operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. It's expected to bring 1,500 permanent jobs and some 700 construction jobs.

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WKAR Features
8:10 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Lansing, Sault Chippewa plan to build downtown casino

An artist's rendering of the Kewadin Lansing Casino to be built adjacent to the Lansing Center. Illustration: Courtesy of the City of Lansing.

Lansing, MI – Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is announcing a major economic development initiative today. The city and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians are planning to build a 125,000 square foot casino adjacent to the Lansing Center on the city's downtown riverfront. It's a $245 million project is expected to create 1,500 permanent jobs.

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In Michigan
6:10 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Gov. gives State of the State, business edition

DETROIT –

Gov. Rick Snyder has offered a business-focused version of his State of the State address to a commerce-friendly crowd.

The Republican told business leaders Friday at a Detroit Regional Chamber-hosted event that the state made great progress last year. He says more must be done to fix transportation and more should be invested in fixing roads and bridges.

His remarks come two days after his State of the State speech.

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In Michigan
5:14 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Documentary 'Detropia' being shown at Sundance

DETROIT –

A feature-length documentary titled "Detropia" is being shown at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

The Detroit Free Press reports (http://on.freep.com/xAVmYi ) that the film portraying the Motor City as a canary in the coal mine of America's economic future makes its premiere on Saturday at the event in Park City, Utah.

"Detropia" is made by filmmakers Heidi Ewing, who grew up in Farmington Hills, and Rachel Grady. They are known for the documentary "Jesus Camp," which focused on an evangelical Christian summer camp.

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In Michigan
8:03 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Two petitions approved by Board of Canvassers

LANSING, MI –

Voters may soon be asked to decide whether the state should no longer prohibit recreational marijuana use. Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber has more.

The state Board of Canvassers has approved the language of a petition that calls for the end of marijuana prohibition for anyone aged 21 years or older.

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WKAR Features
11:48 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Lansing Board of Water and Light weighs possible rate hikes

Steam bills would go up for Central United Methodist Church in Lansing under a Board of Water and Light proposal. Photo: Scott Pohl/WKAR

LANSING, MI –

The Lansing Board of Water and Light will hold a public hearing tonight on rate hike proposals that would affect the utility's water and steam customers.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light public hearing begins at 5:30 p.m. in the utility's Haco Drive headquarters board room.

If approved, rates would go up 9%. Electricity rates would not be affected.

WKAR's Scott Pohl reports.

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In Michigan
6:19 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

GM retakes title of top-selling global automaker

DETROIT –

General Motors sold just over 9 million cars and trucks worldwide last year to reclaim the title of the world's top-selling automaker.

The company says it sold 9.03 million vehicles last year, up 7.6% from 2010.

That beat Toyota, which took the crown away from GM in 2008. Toyota sold 7.9 million vehicles last year. The March earthquake in Japan cut Toyota's factory production and hurt its sales.

Germany's Volkswagen took second place with a record 8.156 million sales in 2011. That was up 14% over 2010.

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In Michigan
6:14 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Mich. school district mulls use of novel 'Beloved'

PLYMOUTH, MI –

A committee in a suburban Detroit school district is expected to recommend whether Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Beloved" should be removed from use in some of its high school classes.

The Detroit News reports (http://bit.ly/xhKrqc) that an update from the committee in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools is expected by Friday. The review began after two parents objected to the book's content.

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